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The Bill ratifying the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, adopted in Nairobi on 18 May 2007, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu today.

Under the Bill on the Ratification of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 (123 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, the Convention establishes uniform international rules for the removal of hazardous wrecks and payment of compensation for the costs therein involved. Owners of ships of 300 gross tonnage and above are subject to the requirement of compulsory insurance to ensure the costs of removing hazardous wrecks. The Convention does not apply retroactively. It will be applied to maritime casualties that will occur from the entry into force of the Convention. Estonia wishes to apply the Convention in all its maritime areas and not just in its economic zone, and in view of that, according to the Bill, a relevant declaration will be made.

The explanatory memorandum notes that the Convention will have an impact on business and the business environment. It will increase the sense of security for businesses that Estonia as a maritime nation applies uniform standards. Owners of ships registered in Estonia, and ships flying the Estonian flag under a charter party, as well as owners of ships flying the flags of other countries that visit the Estonian maritime area are the target group of the Bill. Ship owners have an obligation to insure their ships to cover the damages relating to the wreckage of the ships to the extent of the liability insurance established by the Convention, depending on the tonnage of the ship.

The ratification of the Convention will have a positive impact on environmental protection and human health because it will allow to respond more efficiently in the event of a maritime casualty and to prevent the spread of potential pollution.

By now, 40 countries have ratified the Convention or acceded to it, and 13 of them are European Union countries. Estonia signed the Convention on 28 March 2008. The Convention enters into force for Estonia three months following the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

It will be necessary to amend the Maritime Safety Act in order to comply with the Convention. A Bill on amendments to the Maritime Safety Act is undergoing approval. According to the amendments, the Maritime Administration will issue certificates under the Convention, which will bring about a certain increase in its workload.

According the explanatory memorandum, the number of abandoned wrecks is estimated at almost thirteen hundred worldwide and they may pose a hazard to navigation as well as the environment. The Convention is intended to avoid potential hazards in the future.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas replied to the interpellation concerning authorisation agreements involving tax evasion (No. 15), submitted by members of the Riigikogu.

During the debate, Aivar Sõerd (Reform Party) and Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party) took the floor.

The Prime Minister also replied to the interpellation concerning the medicinal product policy (No. 17).

Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party) took the floor during the debate.

The Minister of Finance Martin Helme replied to the interpellation concerning the participation of an adviser to the Minister of Finance at the press conference of wind farm developers (No. 16).

During the open microphone, Kalle Grünthal took the floor.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian).

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Veiko Pesur
Phone +372 631 6353, +372 5559 0595
E-mail veiko.pesur@riigikogu.ee
Questions press@riigikogu.ee

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